With every presidential election comes uncertainty. Leading up to election night, voters wonder how much of their candidate’s proposed policies can be achieved over his or her four-year term.
As Election Day nears, many business leaders are already experiencing double the uncertainty — unsure how both their personal and professional lives will be affected by a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.
For example, the CEO of Wendy’s recently noted that he believes consumers’ doubts surrounding this year’s election is affecting sales. While passing on a $5 burger may not seem like a big deal, that financial hesitation has a snowball effect on the overall economy.
One indicator: The National Association for Business Economics finds that 11 percent of members have postponed hiring or investment decisions until after the election is over.
For HR and benefits professionals, the economic uncertainty manifests itself as concern for what lies ahead for health care — specifically, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Already, insurance companies are pulling back on participation in ACA exchanges, citing large financial losses.
Recently, multiple insurers have announced they are paring back involvement in many of the states where ACA plans are sold due to financial losses. In addition, some of ACA’s biggest early champions now are making major — although fair — critiques of where the law is falling short.
Regardless of who wins the presidency in November, changes to ACA seem imminent. Clinton says ACA needs “fixing,” while Trump calls the law a “disaster.” Here’s a look at the specifics beyond the speeches.
Based on Clinton’s work early in her career and as First Lady, it’s obvious she is passionate about health care: She has continually gone to bat for universal coverage, so it’s likely that she’d look to expand and tweak issues within ACA’s current framework.
Although she’s a major advocate for President Obama and his legacy, Clinton will no doubt be looking for a way to make her own mark on ACA. According to her website, she plans to:
Reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers, such as copays and deductibles;
Lower prescription drug costs;
Expand Medicaid through state incentives;
Expand healthcare access to families and rural Americans, regardless of immigration status;
Defend access to reproductive health care;
Double funding for community health centers and support the health care workforce.
On health care, Donald Trump has been consistent and clear: If elected, he will ask Congress on day one to deliver a full repeal of ACA. While he plans to broaden health care access and quality, he doesn’t plan to do so by expanding ACA.
According to Trump’s website, his health care plan would:
Modify existing law to allow health insurance sales across state lines;
Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from tax returns under the current tax code;
Require price transparency from all health care providers;
Block-grant Medicaid to the states;
Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable, and cheaper products.
Trump or Clinton will have to do some major rehabilitation on public perception toward the health insurance industry and the government. According to the Businessolver Empathy Workplace Monitor, barely 1 in 5 U.S. employees (22 percent) believe the government is effectively addressing society’s needs in everyday business, and a similar minority (22 percent) believe the government performs well in listening to customer needs and feedback.
Further, the National Healthcare Trust Index finds that fewer than half of Americans (49 percent) trust their health insurance plan. Turning around those numbers — while maintaining health care access, improving quality, and innovating care delivery — is a heavy lift. HR and benefits professionals will have a major role to play in helping to educate not only their workforce, but also influencing the new administration on how to effectively change policy and perception at the same time.